9 April How the DofE helped shape my career and improved my mental health
The role of volunteers for our charity partners
Monday 1 – Sunday 7 June 2020 marks Volunteers Week, an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. 20.1 million people volunteered through a group, club or organisation during 2017/18, with many more ‘informally’ volunteering time and effort. Volunteers get involved in different ways, reflecting their lifestyles, values and priorities, doing everything from organising events to looking after administration, spending time with vulnerable people and supporting individuals. The economic value of volunteering is estimated at £23.9bn, but this does not capture the wider social value that comes from donating time.
Our charity partners get huge benefit from people donating their time, energy, and effort towards their work. Here’s how volunteers are transforming their impact.
At Place2Be, through collaboration with their corporate partners, employees can offer their time and expertise through a range of volunteering opportunities with the children and staff in our schools. This may include the chance to roll their sleeves up and help to renovate a school space with some DIY, such as a recent group of volunteers who transformed the staff room and Place2Be counselling room for one of their partner schools in London:
“[The volunteers] have made such a difference in this school by providing a space for the teachers and staff to connect and have a space where they can relax when possible. I have noticed more happiness when staff meetings are held in the staffroom, they sit on the couches together with the blanket. The children have valued and appreciated the more homely feel in the playroom and to have a place of comfort.” - Place2Be School Project Manager
Employees also volunteer their professional skills to hold office visits, offer careers and CV advice and create mentoring schemes to develop the confidence and employability skills of the students in our schools.
Children and young people who have four or more contacts with potential employers before they leave school are 86% less likely to become NEET – not in education, employment or training. By offering their time, volunteers help to provide inspirational opportunities and raise the aspirations of children and young people Place2Be support.
“[The company] as a whole were very welcoming and all of the staff that we encountered were so friendly… The pupils were so enthused and had the most wonderful time. … I cannot say how valuable the experience was on so many different levels.” - Headteacher after a group of students took part in a careers morning hosted by a corporate partner
Across the capital OnSide YouthZones have 82 active volunteers with about a quarter of these continuing to help us through lockdown. Across the entire network there are an additional 821.
Volunteers take part in activities all over the Youth Zone from supporting young people taking part in cooking classes in training kitchen, to guiding young people to develop their businesses from an ideas to the planning stage through to the charity’s enterprise projects to hosting football training followed by matches on the outdoor pitch. There are also some volunteers who help with admin, building maintenance and outreach work.
They have also adapted slightly to support during lockdown. Most recently Legacy’s volunteer receptionist, who wanted to continue supporting Legacy through the lockdown months, had a change of role, joining the catering team to pack and prep food parcels ready for members of the community who are in need to come and collect. This amazing team has now provided over 3800 meals to the local community!
“Why do I volunteer at Legacy – for me it’s a really easy question to answer actually, I get to turn up and spend time with some of Croydon’s most talented, kind hearted, most promising young people and sort of join them on their journey as they grow and flourish as young adults. It’s a privilege to be a part of that! - Dan
There are over 20,000 Samaritans volunteers across 201 branches in the UK and Ireland. Some volunteers help by giving up their time to listen to anyone who is struggling to cope and other volunteers support them to deliver the service. Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, they listen and give people the space to share how they’re really feeling.
It’s thanks to Samaritans’ amazing volunteers that the charity is able to deliver a unique 24 hour confidential and non-judgemental listening service available 365 days a year across the UK and Ireland offering emotional support to anyone who needs it. Samaritans’ volunteers spend over one million hours responding to calls for help every year.
During 2018, more than 20,000 people volunteered their time for Samaritans:
- more than 17,000 trained listening volunteers responded to calls for help
- 2,200 volunteers supported the running of the 201 branches
- more than 1,200 people in prisons volunteered as trained Listeners providing peer support.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
In 2019-20, DofE participants donated a staggering 3,397,043 hours of their personal time to volunteer for a range of community causes. To quantify the significance of support given in monetary terms, this amounts to around £14,777,137 worth of time given in support of others. Around 40,000 Leaders and volunteers deliver DofE programmes. Amongst a whole host of activities, DofE participants’ volunteering includes: working with the environment or animals, youth work, helping people in need, community action and raising awareness, helping a charity or community organisation, and sports leadership.